Monday

27th Jun 2022

EU border agency starts sea patrols

  • Boats transporting illegal immigrants are getting bigger, says Frontex (Photo: AFM)

The EU's border control agency – Frontex - is for the first time launching its own network of sea patrols to combat illegal immigration, saying its focus will be on the Spanish Canary Islands which alone saw at least 30,000 immigrants arriving by sea last year.

The creation of the European Patrols Network, a move decided by EU member states in December 2006 to reinforce the bloc's immigration policy, is the first attempt to jointly implement a system of monitoring the sea borders of the 27-member Union.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"Daily patrolling operations of neighbouring states [to the EU] will be planned and executed in a synchronised way," Ilkka Laitinen, the head of the Warsaw-based agency said, according to Reuters.

He did not say how many patrols would be launched, but indicated the Canaries would be one of the priorities. The agency has previously helped organise joint EU patrols in the region.

Malta and Italy are facing similar problems with illegal immigrants arriving by sea from Africa – a dangerous trip that has claimed thousands of lives according to NGOs.

The patrols will be coordinated and implemented by the different countries with Frontex. "This will allow avoiding overlapping of patrols and the effective sharing of operational information," it said in a statement.

Patrols launched by Portugal and Spain will coordinate activities south of the Iberian peninsula, while Italy will work with Slovenia in the north Adriatic Sea, and with France in the northern Mediterranean.

"There is a huge task to accomplish to bring the national authorities together," said Mr Laitinen, according to AFP.

The EU has to better coordinate its efforts against illegal immigration, as organised crime rings are becoming more and more sophisticated and methodical in the way they smuggle people into Europe, the border agency said.

"Bigger cargo vessels, designed deliberately to transport illegal immigrants overseas, may use the route, which has become global," Mr Laitinen said.

The EU also decided last month to launch a rapidly deployable force of about 450 border guards to help states such as Spain cope with sudden influxes of illegal migrants. It should be fully operational by the end of the year.

Pegasus spyware makers grilled by MEPs

"We will not continue to work with a customer that is targeting a journalist illegally," Chaim Gelfand, chief compliance officer of NSO Group told MEPs — but shed little light on EU governments' use of its Pegasus spyware.

Opinion

Romania — latest EU hotspot in backlash against LGBT rights

Romania isn't the only country portraying lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people as a threat to children. From Poland and Hungary in EU, to reactionary movements around the world are prohibiting portrayals of LGBT people and families in schools.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  2. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  4. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022
  5. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBHow price increases affect construction workers
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic think tank examines influence of tech giants

Latest News

  1. Expect Czech EU presidency to downgrade V4 priorities
  2. Big polluters should have no role in planning EU energy policy
  3. G7, Nato, gas anxiety and Ukraine top This WEEK
  4. Death toll rising after thousands storm Spain's wall in Africa
  5. EU summit's uncertainty in the face of economic war
  6. Next winter's gas looms large at EU summer summit
  7. Ukraine becomes EU candidate after 120 days of war
  8. How to enhance EU cybersecurity

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us